Former president Jacob Zuma’s leave to appeal a recent judgement ordering he return to prison will be heard on Tuesday morning, his legal team confirmed on Twitter on Saturday.
“Judge [Elias] Matojane has indicated his intention to hear the application for leave to appeal on Tuesday 21 December at 10h00.
“Despite serious issues with the availability of President Zuma’s legal team, however in the interests of the country all efforts have been made to honour the date proposed by the Judge,” the JG Zuma Foundation tweeted.
On Wednesday morning, the Pretoria High Court ruled that former national commissioner of correctional services Arthur Fraser’s decision to place Zuma on medical parole in September was unlawful, and set the decision aside.
Shortly after the high court’s decision, Zuma’s legal team delivered his application for leave to appeal the judgement, saying the former president wanted to appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.
The foundation said Zuma was appealing the ruling “on the grounds that the judgment is clearly wrong and there are strong prospects that a higher court will come to a totally different conclusion”.
The high court order meant Zuma would have to return to jail to serve the remainder of his 15-month sentence imposed by the Constitutional Court earlier this year, after refusing to obey court orders to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.
The months Zuma has been spending at his home will not form part of his sentence.
The DA, Helen Suzman Foundation and AfriForum earlier this year lodged an application to review Zuma’s medical parole, after Fraser admitted he overrode the Medical Parole Advisory Board’s decision not to release Zuma from prison.
SAHRC calls for calm
After Wednesday’s ruling, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) called for calm.
The July unrest, which saw more than 330 people lose their lives, was ostensibly triggered by Zuma’s incarceration.
The SAHRC said the countless social media posts of disgruntled pro-duma supporters’ disdain for the ruling, there were concerns the ruling would trigger another bout of unrest.
The commission, which conducted public hearings into the July riots, “would like to remind the South African public that the former president, like any other citizen, has the right to take the recent decision of the high court on appeal or review for different sets of judges to look at and pronounce on the soundness and validity thereof”.
Compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe